Superhero fatigue…not a thing, but franchise fatigue…definitely a thing. Case in point: The Flash crashed and burned in its second weekend. I discussed the multiple reasons why the film underperformed last week. Still, it’s very interesting that this movie is having a hard time finding audiences while Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is still crushing it. Both are multiversal stories with lots (and lots) of cameos but with varying degrees of quality in their storytelling and visual style.
Spider-Man has now reclaimed the top spot with a $19.3 million gross, while The Flash has dropped by 72% and has now solidified its status as a box office bomb. It’s one of the worst second-weekend drops of any superhero film in history and the lowest-ever drop since 2009’s Friday the 13th! Pro-tip: regardless if it’s good or not, NEVER EVER EVER market your movie as one of the greatest of all time, especially without anybody having seen it. Maybe it is, but let the audience be the judge of that. To put The Flash on such a high pedestal at CinemaCon before anyone had a chance to see it honestly killed its box office chances when the reception started to sour. Of course, multiple other factors went into the movie being a commercial disaster, but this was honestly one of the worst ones.
Funnily enough, while The Flash is bombing terribly, Pixar’s Elemental is becoming a sleeper hit, having only slightly dropped from its first weekend with an $18.4 million tally. That’s not terrible, considering the negative reception it initially got from Cannes that killed its early chances. However, positive word-of-mouth could actively help this one become a success.
Here’s the question of the day: Should Warner Bros. kill Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Last Kingdom before they have the chance to release? That’s a touchy question because 2018’s Aquaman made over $1 billion worldwide while being released at Christmas, despite mixed reviews. Why would Warner want to cancel the sequel’s release when it could (theoretically) make tons of money, as it’s being released in that same time period?
The interest in the DCEU is currently non-existent, and there’s an infinitely small chance that Blue Beetle will be a commercial success. However, it’s best to release the film to recoup some of the costs the previous regime had implemented from an HBO Max to a theatrical release. One thing’s for sure: it’ll be great to have that one-year break before James Gunn‘s Superman: Legacy, but that movie better be good. If it fails to impress critics, its chances for commercial success will be quite slim. Hell, The Flash had two versions of Batman [Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton], usually a commercial drive, and it bombed. No pressure, right?
As for the other movies this weekend, the R-rated A-lister studio comedy is back with No Hard Feelings. The film impressively grossed a $15.1 tally in its first weekend against a $45 million budget. In the post-COVID era, few studio comedies that put emphasis on the star were released in cinemas. But through the sheer star power of Jennifer Lawrence, No Hard Feelings has shattered expectations and will hopefully convince more studios to release their A-lister comedy in cinemas instead of streaming.
And here’s another great box office result: Asteroid City has scored the biggest opening weekend of ANY Wes Anderson film as it expanded to more theatres, grossing over $9 million in 1,675 theatres. This bodes very well for Anderson’s career and the viability of independent film in cinemas…if Universal doesn’t release the movie on VOD in two to three weeks from now…
Here’s the full list of the top ten films of the week:
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony/Marvel): $19.3M (-28.5%) – 3,785 theatres
- Elemental (Disney): $18.4M (-37.6%) – 4,035 theatres
- The Flash (Warner Bros/DC): $15.2M (-72.3%) – 4,256 theatres
- No Hard Feelings (Sony): $15.1M – 3,208 theatres
- Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (Paramount): $11.6M (-43.9%) – 3,523 theatres
- Asteroid City (Universal): $9.0M (+954.6%) – 1,675 theatres
- The Little Mermaid (Disney): $8.6M (-21.5%) – 3,275 theatres
- Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 (Disney): $3.5M (-33.5%) – 2,010 theatres
- The Blackening (Lionsgate): $3.0M (-49.7%) – 1,775 theatres
- The Boogeyman (Disney): $2.5M (-30.3%) – 1,640 theatres
Source: Box Office Mojo